Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell season online

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Elizabeth Gaskell's House
Elizabeth Gaskell's House

1 — 22 May 2024 Tickets from £5.00 — Book now

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester and the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth have once again teamed up, bringing a new short season of events to a screen near you this May to take a look at the friendship between two giants of Victorian literature: Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell.

Opening the Charlotte Brontë mini-season is an introduction to Elizabeth Gaskell’s controversial biography of her friend, author of the ground-breaking novel Jane Eyre. This was the first biography to be written both by and about a woman writer, and it remains a classic of the genre. The Life of Charlotte Brontë was first published in 1857 and told the story of a ‘wild, sad life and the beautiful character that grew out of it’. Learning officer at the Brontë Parsonage Museum Susan Newby will reveal the importance of the book and how it secured the legacy, reputation and myth of Charlotte Brontë after her death in 1855.

In the second talk, vice-chair of the Gaskell Society Libby Tempest looks at the friendship between Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell and how they were profoundly interested in each other’s work and lives, yet opposites in many ways. Through letters and contemporary accounts, you will explore this famous literary friendship, which developed after the two remarkable literary women first met in the Lake District in 1850. Charlotte’s debut novel Jane Eyre had been an instant classic in 1847 and with Shirley following in 1849, while Elizabeth’s astounding debut Mary Barton had been well received in 1848.

Literary success brought great acclaim and huge public attention to both Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Brontë, and the third event considers how these sensitive, gifted writers – and two very different women – handled their new-found fame. Was Elizabeth Gaskell always keen for company? How did Charlotte Brontë’s legendary shyness affect her experience? Both found themselves thrust into a new world of Victorian celebrity, alongside famous writers, artists and cultural figures such as John Ruskin and Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but who did they meet and what did they think of them? Join the Gaskell Society’s Anthony Burton and Andrew Stodolny of the Brontë Parsonage Museum for a look at the celebrity world of 19th-century English literature.

All three events are online and you can book to watch live on the night or receive a link to the recording. Each talk is £5 per ticket. The first two talks repeat the sold-out events of 2021, so if you missed out then, now’s your chance to join the conversation. Here’s the full programme for the May mini-season:

  • The Life of Charlotte Brontë – An Introduction Wednesday 1 May 2024, 7-8pm
  • Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Brontë – A Friendship Wednesday 15 May 2024, 7-8pm
  • Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Brontë – fame and fortune Wednesday 22 May 2024, 7-8pm

Also, a date for your diary: A fourth online talk, Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Brontë – Villette V Ruth, takes place on Wednesday 26 June, 7-8.30pm (tickets £6). More on this partnership event with Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, the Brontë Parsonage Museum, The Portico and Manchester Metropolitan University here soon!

1 — 22 May 2024 Tickets from £5.00 Book now

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Part of Wives and Daughters season at Elizabeth Gaskell's House online

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